An Apology

It has come to my attention that there are advertisements cluttering this MLJ website. Please note that this is due to the web host (WordPress) and not me. I never see the ads because I use an ad-blocker, and so I forget about them. But my wife pointed out the ads for a toenail fungus remedy on the last post, so I thought I needed to apologize.

I am now in the process of moving the content to a web host that will not force advertising on me and the few readers of this site. The web address will remain the same – – but it will just be hosted somewhere else.

Another possible alternative would be to pay the $4 per month (or $48 per year) to remove the ads. But, as money is tight now (even that small amount), and since I have more time than money, I’ll opt for the move.

Please accept my apologies if you have been offended by the ads!

Sean Richardson

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Battling Discouragement

An article from the Banner of Truth website. READ HERE.

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aberavonOur Lord makes it very plain and clear, repeatedly, that the one thing which damns and condemns people and keeps them outside the kingdom is that they refuse to repent.

…where there is no repentance, there is no love for God and no forgiveness. We must be careful, therefore, lest we damn ourselves in our apparent cleverness to wrest the Scriptures to our own destruction. There is no ‘love of God’ for you unless you have repented or unless you do repent. Make no mistake about this. Do not rely or bank on God’s love. It is only given to the penitent; there is no entry into the kingdom of God except by repentance.

– MLJ, 1932, Evangelistic Sermons at Aberavon

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An army or a hospital?

Romans6One of the most fatal things we can ever do in connection with sanctification is to start with ourselves; and yet I suspect that if we examined ourselves, and were honest, most of us would have to admit that we have almost invariably done so. Our chief reason for being interested in holiness and sanctification is that we are having a terrible fight and battle with sin. We tend to fall constantly and to go down. What can I do about this problem of sin and evil that is in me? Where can I find relief? Is that not the way we almost invariably start with this matter? It is utterly and entirely wrong. That is not the way in which the Apostle deals with it here or anywhere else. We are subjective, and, so often, holiness teaching meets us on the grounds of our own subjectivity. Here am I thus struggling and striving, defeated and unhappy… What we need is not a doctor, but a sergeant major.

The main trouble with the Christian Church today is that she is too much like a clinic, too much like a hospital; that is why the great world is going to hell outside! ‘We are all suffering’ – to quote Charles Lamb again – ‘with the mumps and measles of the soul’ and feeling our own pulses and talking about ourselves, and our own moods and subjective states. We have lost the concept of the army of God, and the King of righteousness in this fight against the kingdom of evil…

We persist in thinking of it in terms of ‘my feelings’ and ‘my failure’ or ‘my success.’ But Paul bids us look at it in terms of service! When you fall to that sin, the real trouble is not so much the particular thing you have done, or the badness of the thing. That is important, I agree; but there is something much worse; it is that you, for whom Christ died, have allowed sin to use a faculty that is in you. That is the way to look at it. Holiness is a matter of service, not of feelings and subjective moods and states, not a matter of experiences. We are meant to be serving the living God with the whole of our being; and no part of us is ever meant to be used, and must not be used, in the service of sin. We must not fraternize with the enemy. That is the New Testament was of teaching holiness… The New Testament teaching is altogether different from the sentimentality and subjectivity that have controlled holiness and sanctification teaching for so long, and which tell us it is ‘quite simple.’ But it is not easy. ‘Fight the good fight of faith’ says the New Testament. Play the man. ‘Quit yourselves as men’; ‘Put on the whole armour of God’; ‘stand in the evil day’. Those are all military commands; there is nothing of the clinic about them. We must get rid of that notion of the clinic and the hospital; and we must look at these things more in terms of God and His glory, and the great campaign which He inaugurated through the Son of His love, and which He is going to bring to a triumphant conclusion.

The thought, then, that should be supreme in our minds is that it is the King and His service that matters; and that what I must be concerned about is not so much the condition and state of my soul, as my relationship to Him, and my value to Him, and my value in His Kingdom. Let us get rid of the flabby, sentimental ideas, and this morbid interest in ourselves, and our desire simply for something to help us. Let us get rid of that approach altogether, for it is unscriptural and wrong.

From Exposition of Romans Chapter 6: The New Man, pages 173-175

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Only one Gospel, no matter what age

knowingThere has been a marked tendency in the last years or so to divide up Christian work according to age groups. I have never been very enthusiastic about these divisions into age groups – old age, middle age, youth, children, and so on. By that I mean that we must be careful that we do not modify the gospel to suit various age groups. There is no such thing as a special gospel for the middle-aged, and a special gospel for the aged. There is only one gospel, and we must always be careful not to tamper and tinker with the gospel as a result of recognizing these age distinctions. At the same time, there is a difference in applying this one and only gospel to different age groups; but it is a difference which has reference only to method and procedure.

– The Presentation of the Gospel, pg 2, from Knowing the Times

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The primary purpose of the Church

preachingI would lay it down as a basic proposition that the primary task of the Church is not to educate man, is not to heal him physically or psychologically, it is not to make him happy. I will go further; it is not even to make him good. These are things that accompany salvation; and when the Church performs her true task she does incidentally educate men and give them knowledge and information, she does bring them happiness, she does make them good and better than they were. But my point is that those are not her primary objectives. Her primary purpose is not any of these; it is rather to put man into the right relationship with God, to reconcile man to God. This really does need to be emphasised at the present time, because this, it seems to me, is the essence of the modern fallacy. It has come into the Church and it is influencing the thinking of many in the Church—this notion that the business of the Church is to make people happy, or to integrate their lives, or to relieve their circumstances and improve their conditions.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers

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The natural intellect cannot receive this…

holyspiritThe greatest natural intellect cannot receive this, he is ‘a natural man’. And you need a spiritual faculty to receive the wonderful truth about the two natures in the one Person; the outstanding doctrine about the Trinity; the whole doctrine of the incarnation and the atonement, and so on. This is spiritual truth and to the natural person it is utter folly, it is foolishness, as Paul says. So when the Holy Spirit does enable us to believe it, it must be something beyond the heightening of our natural faculties. It is not simply that He brings the truth of His great moral suasion to us. No, no. We need some new faculty, some new principle, and that is the very work that He does. He implants within us this new spiritual principle, this principle of spiritual vitality and activity, and it is as the result of this that the general call of the gospel comes to us in an effectual manner.

– From the chapter on Effectual Calling in God the Holy Spirit

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